Simplified use and acceptance of public documents in the EU

On February 16, 2019 the Regulation (EU) 2016/1191 (hereinafter: Regulation), which simplifies the requirements for cross-border use and acceptance of certain public documents in the EU, entered into effect.

Under the Regulation an apostille (authenticity stamp) is no longer required when presenting public documents or their certified copies issued by the authorities of one European Union (EU) member state to the authorities of another EU member state. The regulation applies to public document regarding personal status (e.g. birth, death, marriage, registered partnership, adoption, etc.), as well residence and absence of criminal record.

In addition, the Regulation  also removes the requirement for EU citizens to provide an official translation of the public documents most frequently used in a cross-border context; instead EU citizens can request a multilingual standard form, available in all EU languages, to present as translation aid attached to their public documents. If the authorities of the receiving EU country require a certified translation of the public document, they must accept a certified translation made in any EU country.

Finally, the Regulation also establishes an obligation to accept certified copies of public documents, issued in other Member States. Namely, where a Member State permits the presentation of a certified copy of a public document, the authorities of that Member State have to accept a certified copy prepared in another Member State.

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